I am proud and honored to announce the appointment of two stellar staff members to senior positions in the CTU team. CTU organizer Rebecca Martinez will now serve as director of organizing for the union, replacing Norine Gutekanst, who retired last year. Field rep Zeidre Foster will now serve as director of the grievance department, replacing Sara Echevarria, who also retired last year.
Zeidre was a high school teacher for a decade before joining the union as a field rep in 2012, where she’s earned the respect of fellow staff and rank and file members alike for her keen knowledge of the contract and her tenacious commitment to fight for our members. As a field rep, she played a central role in the successful six year legal battle to protect CTU workers’ pension rights, and her brilliant negotiating skills have made her a tremendous voice for members at the bargaining table.
Rebecca worked as an organizer for groups that include Taller Salud in Puerto Rico and Enlace in Chicago — one of the CTU’s strongest grassroots allies in our struggle for educational justice — before joining the CTU in 2013. As our union has expanded our organizing footprint, she’s played a pivotal role in our grassroots outreach and alliance-building to create and sustain campaigns that support our fight at the bargaining table and in the court of public opinion for fair contracts that seek to fund and support the schools our students deserve.
Rebecca and Zeidre bring enormous creativity, hard work and deep commitment to our union and our struggle for real educational equity. They both have agreed to assume this greater leadership responsibility out of their deep-seated commitment to both our rank and file members and the students and families we serve. Please join me in celebrating these two warriors for educational justice as we all work in the coming weeks and months to land an agreement that protects the safety of students and workers — and delivers the equity and educational justice that ground our service to our students and families.